Smart boosts community warning system

PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications is working with Batangas State University to enhance tsunami warning systems of seaside communities.

Smart is integrating its Emergency Cell Broadcast System into the Solar Isotropic Generator of Acoustic Wave platform to enable faster and wider dissemination of hazard alerts within communities.

Funded by the World Food Programme, Sigaw was created by BatStateU, in partnership with the provincial disaster risk reduction and management office and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), to help warn residents in coastal barangays (villages) of possible tsunami. 

Sigaw, which also means “shout” in Tagalog, consists of a 10-foot-tall device, a control unit with a SIM (subscriber identity module) and a siren, and a solar panel. It can send out text broadcasts and issue a siren alert when its sensors detect tsunami activity relayed by Phivolcs.

A Sigaw unit installed in San Luis, Batangas

ECBS is a collaboration by Smart, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and the National Telecommunications Commission. It was launched in March last year, and has since been used to disseminate quick emergency alerts during typhoons and post-earthquake situations. Most recently, ECBS alerts have been sent to Albay residents following the ongoing eruption of the Mayon Volcano, which started last month.

ECBS is considered more effective in disseminating emergency alerts because it operates on a channel separate from that used by calls and text messages or SMS (short message service). Smart’s investment on ECBS is landmark compliance to Republic Act No. 10639 or the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act, which mandates telecommunications service providers to send free mobile alerts in the event of natural and man-made disasters and calamities.

Seventeen Sigaw units have been installed in 13 Batangas municipalities, according to Albertson D. Amante, BatStateU vice president for research, development, and extension services. The plan, he added, was to deploy more units not only in Batangas but also in other provinces. 

“Integrating Sigaw with Smart ECBS will improve the system and allow us to reach more people in communities better,” said Amante.

BatStateU has been one of Smart’s school partners in the company’s technology-for-development initiatives. It has been an active participant in Smart’s youth programs such as SWEEP, or Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program, which aims to produce industry-ready graduates or technopreneurs; and TNT Tropang Ready, which empowers the youth to become disaster preparedness mobilizers in their communities.

Topics: Smart boosts community warning system
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